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40 Prof. C. Barus on the Absorption of the
“to the three required for translatory motion. The value “ (1*4) applicable to the principal diatomic gases, gives room “for the three kinds of translation and for two kinds of “ rotation. Nothing is left for rotation round the line joining “ the atoms, nor for relative motion of the atoms in this line. 6 Even if we regard the atoms as mere points, whose rotation u means nothing, there must still exist energy of the last-“ mentioned kind, and its amount (according to law) should “ not be inferior.
“We are here brought face to face with a fundamental “ difficulty, relating not to the theory of gases merely, hut “ rather to general dynamics. In most questions of dynamics, “ a condition whose violation involves a large amount of “ potential energy may be treated as a constraint. It is on “ this principle that solids are regarded as rigid, strings as “ inextensible, and so on. And it is upon the recognition “of such constraints that Lagrange’s method is founded. “ But the law of equal partition disregards potential energy. “ However great may be the energy required to alter the “ distance of the two atoms in a diatomic molecule, practical “ rigidity is never secured, and the kinetic energy of the “ relative motion in the line of junction is the same as if the “ tie were of the feeblest. The two atoms, however related, “ remain two atoms, and the degrees of freedom remain six “ in number.
“ What would appear to be wanted is some escape from “ the destructive simplicity of the general conclusion/’
The simplest way of arriving at this desired result is to deny the conclusion; and so, in the beginning of the twentieth century, to lose sight of a cloud which has obscured the brilliance of the molecular theory of heat and light during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
II. The Absorption of the Ionized* Phosphorus Emanation in Tubes.—II. By C. Barus f.
1, T?OR reasons of both theoretical and practical import it JO is next necessary to ascertain the precise conditions under which the phosphorus nucleus vanishes on passing
* Whoever writes on subjects relating, like the present, to certain features of ionization is obliged to make free use of tne admirable work (Thomson, C. T. ft. Wilson, Townsend, Rutherford, Zeleny, and others), which has been sent out by the Cavendish Laboratory under the direction of Prof. J. J. Thomson. These researches, like those of Chattock, Elster and Geitel, and others (cf. H. Becquerel in ‘ Nature/ Feb. 21st, p. 396, 1901), are so recent and well known that detailed reference would be cumbersome; but I desire to make my acknowledgments here, f Communicated by the Author.